Most Common Bad Study Habits
This section should be pre-empted by noting that everyone has a different study habit. It is important to find your personal best way to study, as you may hate music, while others love it. The following list is a generalization of all problems that students have encountered while studying. Some may apply to you, while others not. Either way, we have provided an explanation and "fix" to the problem.
- Studying with Friends
Too much Music
- Explanation: While fun, sometimes you may lose out on quality study time by socializing.
- Fix: Find one good study-buddy if you like group studying. Otherwise, "just say no" when everyone wants to study together.
- Explanation: Noise and music can interfere with the brain's abilite to comprehend new information. It can also distract you from focusing on the material at hand.
- Fix: If you need music in the background, find a specific type (usually classical) that works well for you. Don't keep changing it around. When there are no lyrics, then it is easier to focus on the words on the paper in your hand.
Last Minute Cramming
- Explanation: A poor study environment can ruin all quality time. If you are uncomfortable at a chair, desk, room, the temperature is too cold or too hot, you will be unsuccessful studying.
- Fix: Test out different sites until you find the best place for you. It may be the library, it may be your room, your bed, your best friend's backhouse. Who knows? Find what works best for you and stick with it.
- Explanation: While many people swear by the cramming method, it is ultimately terrible at long term knowledge retention and can cause undue stress.
- Fix: Study for days up until the test. Or, if you do prefer cramming, try cramming two nights prior to the exam so that the final night will not consist of stress. Rather it will be a night for review.
- Explanation: Eating too much food during studying can disrupt retention of material. It can also take too much time away. You may want to snack lightly during studying, but not eat enormous meals.
- Fix: Keep a small bag of snacks by your study area. You won't have to leave the area just to pick up food when you get hungry.
Working in your Bed
- Explanation: Drinking is a double-edged sword. Never drink alcohol while studying. However, it is important to stay awake and hydrated.
- Fix: Have a glass of water (or soda with caffeine) by your side. Be very careful not to spill it onto your books and papers.
- Explanation: While it may be comfortable, your bed can also sooth you to sleep instead of study.
- Fix: Sit at a desk in your room instead of on your bed. Do not study on your bed late at night, as you will be tempted to fall asleep.
Studying during a commute
- Explanation: Many people are able to multi-task, meaning they can do several different things at once. This can be good for daily tasks. When it comes to studying, you may not retain as much material as if you were to focus purely on one task.
- Fix: Before a big exam, drop everything else for at least 24 hours and focus purely on the studying. When it is complete, you can return to your multi-tasking.
- Explanation: Many people enjoy reading on a train, bus, or car to work and school. These environments are wonderful for light reads, but not necessarily for intense studying.
- Fix: Use the commute (if you have one) for light studying, such as memorization, repetition, and review. Do not use this time to learn new information.
- Explanation: It is inevitable to allow outside problems into your study world. They exist and cannot be turned off light electricity.
- Fix: There is no perfect way out of eliminating outside stress to a study area. The best advice we can give you is to find a location that eliminates all superficial stress enough that will allow you even a few hours to focus on writing, studying, reviewing.